Whose fault?

THE heading on your item about parking in the street by staff at the new police headquarters in Northallerton was unfortunate. It is not the “police staff” who are “under fire over parking” for we all know it is not the fault of the staff.

It is the fault of those who chose such an inappropriate building in the full knowledge of its inadequate parking facilities.

You report that when addressing the problems in the streets near Alverton Court Councillor Blades told the county council’s Hambleton area committee that “they are not illegally parked, these people are not necessarily committing an offence.” In a report to the committee Inspector Murray is said to have said the police “would act only within the law in addressing unlawful parking.”

Curious then that the photograph accompanying your report showed several cars illegally parked on the footpath in Prospect View. Furthermore, after dark these cars would be parked the wrong way at night and without lights. I have often seen them parked thus myself both in daylight and in the dark in Prospect View and Greenhowsyke Lane yet nothing is done about it.

Perhaps it is naïve of me to expect something to be done given the drivers concerned are police staff and all too often I see official police cars parked partially on footpaths.

As I have pointed out in your columns in the past parking on footpaths is a perennial problem for pram-pushers and those guiding the elderly blind. Years ago I used to have to take my blind father into the road to avoid vehicles on the footpath and there has been no improvement since, indeed if anything the position is worse. Something should be done.

I am well aware that if the cars parked illegally on the footpaths were to be parked on the carriageway then they would cause an obstruction but that is not a reason for parking illegally to the detriment of young and old in the community or for the police ignoring it.

Councillor Blades is said to have said “We always knew there were going to be problems.” Did they indeed? I assume his “we” includes both those responsible for the move and those who approved it, that is those who are really responsible for this chaos.

If they “always”’ knew then it should not have happened. It is not fair to blame the staff.

Dr David Severs, retd Chief Superintendent, Northallerton

Bike solution

YOUR article on parking problems in Northallerton (D&S Times Dec 8) leads me to suggest a means of alleviating the problem.

Northallerton and the surrounding countryside is practically flat. A five-mile radius from the town centre takes in all the country between the A19 and the A1, north to Deighton and south to Kirby Wiske, an area in which a very large proportion of Nothallerton commuters live.

Five miles in flat country is a gentle half hour's cycle ride.

Come on, Northallerton commuters, turn your daily commute into a little health giving exercise to your benefit and the benefit of the town. "Get Northallerton Cycling" should be the slogan.

Gerald Hodgson, Spennithorne

Hospital disgrace

THE Lambert Hospital in Thirsk was closed earlier in the year, since the CCG in it’s wisdom regarded it as being surplus to health-care needs.

After “due consultation” we were encouraged to think that a new local health-hub would take its place, but instead the site has been placed on the open market for residential development. This despite the increasing pressure for space from the two adjacent medical practices, who have nowhere else to expand, in this rapidly expanding town.

It is now astonishing to learn from the estate agents that any private purchase would include a covenant, so that the site can no longer be used for health-care purposes.

The reasons are obvious enough, there is concern that if the GPs are able to buy or rent the site then our local NHS bureaucrats may be sucked into extra expenditure.

The Lambert was donated to the town for health-care, and now is to be sold with a covenant prohibiting it’s intended use. It is an unbelievable disgrace.

Dr John Garside, Thirsk


I WOULD like to comment on the report that pornographic pictures were found on the office computer of the MP Damian Green when the police raided his parliamentary office in April 2009. The two police officers that have reported this are now being condemned for keeping the public informed and Cressida Dick the head of the Met says that if this report is found not to be true then the officers must be brought before the courts.

I would like to question why were the public not informed about this at the time, our politicians should be seen to behaving impeccably this appears to be another try of a political cover up an independent inquiry should be speedily carried out.

Brian Tyldesley, Middleham

Lip service

I’VE got two questions to ask Cleveland’s police and crime commissioner Barry Coppinger, who pays lip service to the importance of neighbourhood policing as he searches for a new Chief Constable.

If Barry values neighbourhood policing so highly, why has he not done more to revive it in East Cleveland, rather than fobbing us off with an additional couple of PCSOs?

What impact can two PCSOs make on an area of over 50 square miles, containing many scattered settlements, ranging from small towns down to numerous hamlets and small farmsteads?

Cllr Steve Kay, East Cleveland Independent

Not the end

YOUR correspondent Dr Newens (D&S Times, Nov 24) summed up our relationship with the EU, and I agree with all he said. There were unjustifiable criticisms in letters in the next edition. Leaving the EU will put us at a disadvantage in a host of ways, and does nothing to enhance our relations with other EU countries, in spite of Mrs May's assurances.

The EEC was set up initially to simplify and improve trade, in a context which would make a Third World War between European nations impossible.

A majority of MPs voted "remain" in the referendum, but party leaders decided to go with the referendum result in the debates and votes. Yet we expect our MPs to lead and not to follow, and the referendum had been stated to be advisory.

Reference to left-wing propaganda does not tally with the support for the EU by such as Margaret Thatcher and Ken Clarke. The former waved her handbag around a few times, but called for reform from within the EU, with considerable success. She had worked in the chemical industry, and was aware of the EU's importance there. Like the car and aircraft manufacturing, it involved cooperation between EU countries.

The closure of North-East pits was done mainly by Harold Wilson and Margaret Thatcher in the wake of cheap coal from Poland, which was not in the EU then.

EU cooperation and trade has paid an important role in our success, and we already see rising prices without corresponding wage rises, and greater poverty. Cooperation and trade with more distant countries is limited by greater transport costs and impracticality for some perishables, even if these countries seek other markets. "End of " it is not!

Jim Robinson, Morton-on-Swale

No humiliation

HOWEVER one may view the United Kingdom’s relationship with the European Union, it is better to hail an agreement than wish for a non-agreement. In most commercial negotiations, both parties who are looking towards a possible cooperation work to certain guidelines which, in their opinion, are essential to maintain in order to achieve a workable agreement. That is exactly what happened in this case between the British government and the EU.

For Mr Farage to talk about humiliation, and having caved in to unelected officials, is sheer ignorance.

We can all hold opinions when what we say and believe are without consequences. A British Prime Minister does not have such luxury. Mrs May had to negotiate under difficult circumstances based on the facts and realities with which she was faced and this has disclosed that there is a completed Stage One, namely, we have some items in common which both parties can reasonably accommodate.

Therefore, what she has achieved will be welcomed by industry and commerce and there is no reason why irrational xenophobics should deny her that success. She has acted in the interests of Britain.

We need to remember that we have only completed Stage One and this enshrines that fundamental common interests have been achieved. For some to talk about a “divorce bill” and giving billions to the EU is equally nonsense. I believe that most people in Britain believe that Britain has a good standing in international affairs and she should maintain that standing and act at all times with integrity.

Therefore, having, with other countries, created joint enterprises of whichever kind, this has created a financial liability and the money in question is not a penalty or a bung to the EU but is simply a discharge of internationally agreed financial commitments.

It surely would be unacceptable to most people if Britain were to fail to discharge her obligations, based on international agreements, and tell those people who legitimately can expect a contribution to “go and whistle”.

Whilst I personally would have preferred Britain to remain in a reformed EU, nonetheless we have to accept the fact that the majority of voters held a different view. That is the view by which our Prime Minister was governed. The way to get to where we are now may, in many minds, not be the most efficient and straightforward approach, but let’s thank all involved that we have got to the point where we are now.

Bernard Borman, Leyburn

Union rules

DESPITE being fed up of the ongoing Brexit opinions (not facts) in your letters pages I thought I would throw in a fact.

If the referendum vote had been under the same rules as the 2016 Trade Union Act with regard to public services ballots the Brexit result would not have been binding as only 37 per cent of those eligible to vote were in favour of leaving, three per cent lower than the required 40 per cent. Just saying…

Ian Wilson, Guisborough

Pension nonsense

HAVING reached another milestone on my journey to meet with St Peter at the Pearly Gates, the Government has seen fit to increase my state pension by the princely sum of 25p per week.

Ohers have expressed concern as to how this windfall might influence their lifestyle but my take is quite the opposite.

This non-inflation-proofed addition was introduced in 1971 when it might have bought something, although Paul Daniels might have said “not a lot”.

Now it is nigh on worthless.

This 25p could perhaps purchase a season ticket for the rest of Sunderland’s home games or be a golden handshake payment to Mike Ashley for the benefits he has bestowed upon Newcastle United.

But to all others, it is valueless.

However if the Government ceased this payment, it would save millions of pounds annually to be used for worthier causes.

Each year the saving would increase as more joined this exclusive club than tumbled over the precipice edge.

So, please, someone bring an end to this nonsense now.

Dave Kilvert, Darlington

Charity cards

A REPORT in The Guardian this week pointed out that of the £3 paid at Waitrose for a pack of charity Christmas cards only 10p goes to the three chosen charities and that the average donation at most larger retailers amounts to only 10 per cent of the selling price of “charity” cards. The larger retailers justify these low donations by saying that actually they make more money overall for the charities because they sell more cards, but in my opinion they are sailing pretty close to the wind by even calling them charity packs.

Usually buying one’s card directly from a charity guarantees an average of 60 per cent going to the good cause but there is one set of cards where the whole purchase price goes to charity and these can be purchased from www.sreepurcards.org. The cards are handcrafted by the women of Sreepur village outreach programme using locally sourced natural products. All proceeds are returned to Sreepur Village, home to over 500 abandoned children and 100 destitute women in rural Bangladesh.

I bought some this week (three days delivery) and they’re simple but lovely and colourful.

Even if it’s late for this year at least all the money does go to a worthwhile cause.

VJ Connor, Bishop Auckland

Gloomy view

I AM profoundly disappointed by the new streetlights in Darlington. They are feeble and definitely a step backwards.

I do not think the streets were this poorly lit even in the days of gas lights.

Nigel F Boddy, Darlington


REGARDING the sculpture at Hawes featured in the SD&S Times on Dec 1 -how ridiculous that the shepherd statue can’t have a pipe.

My father always smoked a pipe, our neighbour smoked one (both farmers) the shepherd we had always smoked one. It is depicting how it used to be.

My only gripe is he should have a shepherd’s crook - he couldn’t catch a sheep or a lamb with that modern stick.

They will be saying next that you mustn’t have a statue of a soldier with a gun!

Jean Clarke, Leyburn